By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
The Christmas spirit landed in Portales at the 16th annual Holiday Happening Saturday on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University.
The ballroom on campus was festive. Altrusa International of Portales put on a silent auction, a fashion show, and offered food.
However, the real highlight of the event was the decorated tables, a Holiday Happening tradition. It allows people to sponsor tables and design them with creative centerpieces.
Karen Roach was a first time attendee to Holiday Happening and went all out decorating her table, which featured a glass display filled with multi-colored holiday candies.
“Yesterday, my husband and kids helped me put it together. I used about 60 pounds of candy to make it,” said Roach.
The crowd was lively and it was clear the holiday spirit was in the air, with many dressed in holiday inspired clothes. Most of the few men in the crowd were seated at the table of Jack Willis, a science teacher at Portales High School. Willis had dedicated his table to the memory of his late friend, John Bohm.
“He died a month ago. He and I used to decorate tables together for six or seven years and he could build anything. I dedicated this table in his memory,” said Willis.
Willis’ table featured a camel. Willis said it was a joke he and Bohm shared.
“He always liked that camel commercial, where the camel talks about Wednesday being hump day. Since Christmas happens to be on Wednesday this year, I decorated the table with a camel.”
The silent auction featured different prizes with winners leaping from their seats when their raffle numbers were called.
“We’ve got cakes, decorating items, paintings, household items, dishes. We’ve got anything that you could want,” said Beverly Bennett, a local member of Altrusa.
The Sodexo staff, the food services provider at ENMU, served a meal with the help of children from the New Mexico Christian’s Children’s Home. Reagen Truex, 14, lives at the home and said she enjoyed her time at Holiday Happenings, despite being hard at work.
“This is really fun. It’s nice to see all the decorations, everything is so pretty. My favorite table was the music note in the front,” said Truex.
Holiday Happening has raised more than $80,000 in the past 15 years.